Buff Faced Pygmy Parrot Care Sheet

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Scientific Facts

Common Name:Buff-faced Pygmy Parrot
Scientific Name:Micropsitta Pusio
Length:About 3.4 inches
Clutch Size:3 eggs
Habitat:Subtropical, Tropical Moist Lowland Forest
Country of Origin:New Britain, New Guinea

Physical Description

The Buff-faced pygmy parrot is considered as the smallest species of parrots. They only average about 8 to 10 cm in size, with a weight of about 11.5 g. Both males and females look alike, except that the markings in the heads of females are smaller, with a facial color that is paler. They also have a plumage that is mostly green, with some yellowish tone on their underparts.

The face, cheeks, and crown of these parts are buff-colored, thus the name. They also have a dark blue patch that is found on the top of their head, then back to their occiput. These parrots have prominent dark blue eyes, with the grey bill, greyish legs, and pinkish or blue tints. Young birds do not have the blue crown, with buff color that is less distinct.

These parrots are little-studied as individual parrot species. The average weight of adults is at 14 g, being heavier than other pygmy parrots.

Subspecies and Races

Here are the subspecies of Micropsitta Pusio, including nominate:

  • Pusio – they are spread throughout the Bismarck Archipelago, as well as the Southeastern part of New Guinea.
  • Stresemanni – they are spread throughout the Misima and Tagula islands, along the Louisiade Archipelago. They are a wee bit larger than the other subspecies, with more yellowish underparts.
  • Harterti – they are spread throughout locations in the Fergusson Island in the D’Entrecasteaux Archipelago. They are known for their blue-tinged throats, with less distinct marks.
  • Beccarii – they are spread throughout the Western Part of New Guinea, from the Cenderawasih Bay to the Kumusi River. They feature a darker plumage overall. S

Habitat and Range

The Buff-faced pygmy parrots are found in either the subtropical, as well as the tropical moist lowland forest areas of Indonesia, and in locations across the Northern lowlands of the New Guinea Island. Within this range, they are present from the west to the southeastern tip, going up to an altitude of about 800 m, and in the entire Bismarck Archipelago. These parrots are seen usually in smaller groups of up to six parrots and are observed to be highly active.


The Buff-paced pygmy parrot was called Nasiterna Pusio by Philip Lutley Sclater, an English naturalist, in 1866. The genus Micropsitta comes from a Greek word that means ‘small’ and ‘parrot.’ The specific name comes from a Latin word, which means ‘little boy.’ Four subspecies of this family have been described, even though their status has also been under questioning.


The sound produced by these parrots include calls that are high-pitched and short notes, similar to “tsee” or “tsit”

Feeding and Diet

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Among the favorite food items of these parrots include bark fungus, lichen, termites, tiny black seeds, insect remains, yellow fruit flesh, as well as flowers.

Being small is not their only distinguishing characteristic. These parrots are believed to depend heavily on tree fungus and lichen as their food. According to a record in 1942, the Red-Breasted pygmy parrot became the very first psittacine variety observed to eat fungus. These food items are described as being a “jelly-like” substance that grows on the bark.

Unfortunately, however, there is limited information available regarding the diet of these parrots. Even though other species of parrots are known to feed on lichen, only the pygmy variety have adaptations which enable them to specialize in harvesting lichen.

Among the adaptations observed to this odd diet include having short tails with outwardly-projecting, stiff feather shafts, elongated toes, as well as long and curved nails. With these physical structures, these parrots can easily creep up and down the trunks of trees as they look for food. Several of them have also been observed to glide headfirst down the trees.

Other similar structures have also been evolved by creepers, woodpeckers, and nuthatches, all of which are also observed to forage in the same way as with Buff-faced pygmy parrots. Woodpeckers and similar species use this type of hunting to search for insects, but not lichen. Pygmy parrots, on the other hand, eat insects, as well as lichen.


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Upon observation, these parrots are fast-moving, thanks to their small size. They usually spend a good amount of time climbing through different foliage, using their huge feet and beak, along with their stiff tail feathers. Attempts have been made in order to breed Buff-faced pygmy parrots successfully, to no avail. These attempts have often resulted in the fast deaths of these little birds. Dietary deficiencies and stress are mostly to blame. As these birds are highly active, they are usually seen hopping around on tree trunks. These parrots also have strong, hooked beaks, which are ideal for cracking tough seeds. They have feet that allow them to climb and hold on to different objects.

Conservation Status

Even though the population size of Buff-faced pygmy parrots is currently unknown, this species is spread throughout a very wide range. As such, they are listed as species of least concern under the IUCN.

FAQ Section

Is it true that the Buff-faced pygmy parrot is the smallest parrot in the world?

Yes, it is true. At just a bit over 8 cm, they are considered as the smallest species of parrots. Pygmy parrots, in general, are also among the relatively few specie under the order, which has never been kept successfully and bred in captivity.

Where are Buff-faced pygmy parrots usually found?

These parrots are found across the regions of northern lowlands of the New Guinea island, from the west to the southeastern tip to an altitude of about 800 meters, and in the areas of the Bismarck Archipelago. They live along with subtropical and tropical moist lowland tress in smaller groups.

Are Buff-faced pygmy parrots endangered?

These parrots are currently considered as species of Least Concern. IUCN has recently declared that the population of this species is quite stable, as seen in their distribution across different regions.

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